Memo confirms Bush and Blair knew claims Iraq had WMDs were lies…Posted: June 26, 2009
A confidential memo obtained by the Observer, detailing a meeting between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, confirms their determination to press ahead with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 without any evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and without United Nations approval.
The five-page memo, written by Blair’s foreign policy adviser Sir David Manning, is dated January 31, 2003, some two months before the invasion began. It records the thinking of Bush and Blair as it became increasingly obvious that United Nations weapons inspectors would not find the advanced weaponry, including a nuclear capability, that both leaders were using to justify military action.
According to the memo, Bush discussed various possible provocations that might trigger a second UN resolution to justify war in the absence of any WMD. One plan being considered by the White House was “to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover” provoking Iraqi forces into opening fire and thereby putting them in breach of a UN resolution.
Bush also discussed his hopes that an Iraqi defector might still be “brought out” to talk about WMD, or that someone might assassinate Saddam Hussein. The memo confirms that the decision had already been taken to go to war. Bush expressed his readiness for war, even if their provocations failed to produce the second UN resolution.
The US, in order to offset its economic decline relative to its rivals, was determined to use its military strength to seize strategically crucial energy resources in the Middle East. Bush, accordingly, had already decided on a date for the start of the war. Manning records, “The start date for the military campaign was now pencilled in for 10 March. This was when the bombing would begin.”
“Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning,” wrote Manning.
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